The Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities has presented $660,000 in grant awards to 84 child service agencies in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, including its inaugural $50,000 Jeff Byrd Grant.
The annual SCC grants were presented Thursday at “Night of Smiles,” a kickoff celebration for the Speedway in Lights holiday light display at BMS that is SCC’s largest fundraiser of the year. The awards set new records for both the largest amount awarded and the greatest number of local child service agencies assisted by SCC in a single year.
Claudia Byrd, executive director of SCC’s Bristol chapter, said both records are the result of a phenomenal year of support for SCC and illustrate the giving nature of people in this region. “We are absolutely overjoyed with the amount of money we were able to raise this year,” she said.
The inaugural Jeff Byrd Grant, a $50,000 endowment established in honor of the former president and general manager of BMS who passed away in 2010, was awarded to the New Clothes For Kids program based in Kingsport. The program provides new, brand-name clothing to children in the Tri-Cities area whose families cannot afford new clothing for school and will use the grant to help build an area where children can come to pick out their own clothes.
“Jeff would be so happy about this grant,” Byrd said of her late husband. “Everybody who knew Jeff knew how much he loved kids and how dedicated he was to doing all he could to help improve their lives. And that’s exactly what New Clothes For Kids is all about. This money will help them give kids the opportunity to come into a place and actually select the clothes they like best. And I think Jeff would think that was so cool.”
Other agencies in the greater Johnson City area awarded grants by SCC on Thursday included Court Appointed Special Advocates, Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Holston United Methodist Home for Children, Arc of Washington County, Assistance and Resource Ministries of Carter County, the Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., Buffalo Mountain Camp, Carter County Foster Care, the East Tennessee Christian Home, the Children’s Advocacy Center, the Crumley House Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center, Girls on the Run, Good Samaritan Ministries, Jericho Shriners, Rise Up!, the Rotary Foundation of Johnson City, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee and Shepherd’s Inn of Elizabethton.
For more information about SCC, visit www.bristolmotorspeedway.com or call 989-6900.